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Extensive reading and reading speed


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My arbitrary goal is to reach an average of one unknown word every 3 pages (i.e., the majority of pages have no unknown words). 

 

I'm a native English speaker with a much larger than average vocabulary, and I've read numerous books where I might have an average of one unknown word every page or two!  Most of the time this does not send me to the dictionary, because I'm able to guess from the context what the words mean.

 

So I'm not sure your standard is a good one.

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10 hours ago, realmayo said:

Did you enjoy the books, even fourth time around?

 

I think that because the first three times were all digital and my fourth time used the physical copy of the book without the help of Pleco, the fourth repetition was always an interesting experience. However, it was all such a chore that by the end of the process, I probably felt a bit too numb to enjoy anything to the fullest! :)

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17 hours ago, tsitsi said:

how do you track your reading speed?

 

I do all my reading on my phone, and Android's "Digital Wellbeing" function tracks how long you use your apps each day. Using that to time my reading is easier than futzing with a stopwatch, and it also allows me to separate out the time I spent reading entries in Pleco.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Thaks for your inspiring stats, how do you track your reading speed? I'm just starting on my reading journey :) And where did you find your reading material to get you going?

 

I do all my reading on an Apple device and use screen time to track. I use the Pleco app's e-reader, and most of the content is purchased within Pleco, like the graded readers they offer. I highly recommend Mandarin Companion for starting out. The Rainbow Bridge series is also excellent, but a little more challenging for beginners. I found having started with RB, my reading speed had a massive jump switching to MC (see my updated progress below)

 

2113319163_readingspeedatninemonths.thumb.png.4fe56824e55f91f499d75f0f0cb716dc.png

 

That said, I'm looking forward to the day where I can read native materials on paper, but that's a long time from now.

 

@pinion Thanks for your reply to my questions. I haven't been around much on the forums, but saw your reply some time ago and really valued your feedback.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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On 7/29/2021 at 10:02 PM, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

That said, I'm looking forward to the day where I can read native materials on paper, but that's a long time from now.

Same!  In fact that's what I'm working towards now. Looks like I'm on track to meet that goal by 2025, but we'll see.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks @pinion for the chart.  It's really inspiring!

 

I tried to do the same (build up my reading ability) during this COVID period, although I only gotten through about 2 million chars so far.  I posted about my experience in another thread. 

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/61248-reading-material-chasm/?do=findComment&comment=481601

 

I haven't focused as much on speed as on parsing sentences & stamina.  I'm plateauing right now at around 100-150 chars per min, but it's nice to see I'm on track per your chart, and my speed will eventually get there. 

 

--------

One question I have for the group is how they've approached building up reading skills when dealing with both Simplified and Traditional character texts at the same time.  I only recently added traditional chars to my repertoire, after I became "mostly" satisfied with my ability to read simplified chars.

 

Learning traditional chars wasn't bad.  I just drilled on a 500 char deck that I got from this site on another thread.  However, one side-effect I noticed is that it seems to have stopped/slowed-down my improvement in my reading speed when reading simplified chars. 

 

I haven't forgotten how to read simplified chars, but I'm not improving as much, and occasionally get confused like between 曾 and 会(會), simple characters that I've long mastered previously. 

 

Now I "know" how to read traditional chars (for basic purposes of street signs, labels and short passages of text), I'm wondering if I should shift back to focusing on mastering simplified first, rather than diversifying. 


I'm curious how others have approached this.  Continue deep-diving in one form first, or keep flipping between the 2?  Also, for people who've reached native reading ability levels in both, do you really read both at the same speed or are you faster at one version or the other?

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On 9/3/2021 at 8:33 PM, phills said:

I'm curious how others have approached this.  Continue deep-diving in one form first, or keep flipping between the 2?  Also, for people who've reached native reading ability levels in both, do you really read both at the same speed or are you faster at one version or the other?

I don't claim anything near native reading speed, but I read Chinese no problem, both simplified and traditional, at about the same speed, with a slight preference for simplified. I guess what I did was alternate them, but for long periods with each type. I first learned traditional, then spent a year in Beijing and picked up simplified, later spent a year in Taiwan and picked up traditional again. Then worked in Taiwan as a translator for about a year, working with traditional. I don't know if my trajectory is something you should plan for -- it was a process of many years -- so just offering it up as a data point. With traditional, I used to have some difficultly with reading vertical lines: they are longer than horizontal lines and I'd have trouble finding the next line after getting to the end of one. But I think that's gone away with practice.

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On 9/4/2021 at 4:33 AM, phills said:

Continue deep-diving in one form first, or keep flipping between the 2? 

I think it’s better to deep dive in one, and then pick up the other. 
 

Once you’ve read a dozen novels in your strongest, then switch to reading the other, and you’ll be fluent enough in the other after one or two books. 

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Thanks for the perspectives.  I think I'm going to keep focus on simplified chars for now, and not switch yet.

 

I thought I was "mostly satisfied" with my reading speed after 10 books, but I think I jumped the gun.  I still am not fast enough read TV subtitles in real time, when the show is in neither Chinese nor English.  

 

E.g. I can't watch a foreign language movie, subtitled in Chinese, and get all of the plot.  I think that requires 200-250 chars / minute. 

 

I think I'll try another 5 books in simplified chars and re-evaluate.

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